Why was it important for Beaches to provide its staff with autism awareness training?
We are aware that parents with children with special needs seldom have an opportunity to rejuvenate or recharge themselves, as all their energy is usually spent on ensuring the well-being of their child. At Beaches Resorts, we continue to understand the dynamics associated with autism and the need to lend support to families who are learning about the condition. Sensitisation and awareness is key and by being aware we are better able to understand, empathise and offer support. We aim to provide a safe environment; one that is non-judgemental, friendly and accommodating to all guests and most importantly, a space where children can experience a holiday in a natural setting.
This heightened training process began two years ago, when we introduced an Early Childhood Associate Degree Programme through our Sandals Corporate University. Since then, 45 team members in Jamaica and in Turks & Caicos have completed their diploma and continue to read for their Associate Degree.
How do you intend to promote the fact your staff have this specialist knowledge and awareness? i.e. in brochures or other marketing and awareness campaigns?
As a proud sponsor of Sesame Street®, Beaches Resorts is pleased to support the Sesame Street® and Autism: See Amazing in All Children programme and has included information on this initiative on the Beaches website (see link below).
Additionally, we actively encourage families to liaise with our Kids Camp Counsellors on resort so that each child’s care is tailored to their individual needs.
Continuous learning and sensitisation of autism, has encouraged us to take the necessary steps to ensure that our staff, especially our Kid’s Camp Counsellors, are fully educated on how to treat children with special needs.
For our Kids Programme, we continue to work with numerous agencies to upgrade our facilities. We are also expanding our training programme to include other resort departments such as Food and Beverage, Watersports, Housekeeping, Front-Desk and Landscaping so as to have the entire hotel moving in the same direction, providing families with an unparalleled holiday experience. We believe that all members of staff should be fully equipped with the knowledge, temperament and skills to respond to the needs of guests.
What difference do you believe the training and other initiatives will make to current and prospective clients who have a child on the spectrum who looking for a family holiday?
With team members trained in autism awareness, it will help ensure that families have a great time on resort. Our training efforts reassure families that we are dedicated and committed to delivering memorable family experiences.
More importantly, we have gone the extra mile to ensure that our staff are aware and sensitised so they can positively impact their communities, social clubs, churches, homes, families and neighbours by acting as autism awareness ambassadors.
How will you work with travel agents and tour operators to promote this angle to them?
Travel agents and tour operators can learn more about the care available to children with autism at Beaches through sessions held by Customer Service Specialist (CSS). We identify that this is a gradual process and are extremely happy to have partnered with Sesame Workshop to share their expertise.